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A week on the Amalfi coast in late June - early July

A week on the Amalfi coast in late June - early July

Old Jan 29, 18, 7:38 pm
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Beach week in Italy in high season

Keeping the original request for posterity, we've changed our location preferences. Recognizing that the first half of August is one of the worst times to go to Italy, we are a bit pressed for choice, so would like to make the most of it. So now we are looking for the best available and least crowded option within, let's say, a five-hour drive from Milan.

Related to this thread, my wife and I (both thirtysomethings) are looking for a good place in the Amalfi region to spend a week. My wife has been to Naples before, but a very long time ago and on a shoestring budget, so we are pretty much total newbies to the area, though we've been to Italy before, numerous times. As we've had a really busy year, we are not looking for much by way of sightseeing, but do want to find a nice, relatively quiet (we aren't the night life types) place to enjoy a week on the beach without going broke. Nice beaches and nature walks, a drive on S163 (iir the number c) and good food are all we're really after. Our budget is around 150 euro/night (ideally less) and we've got a bunch of points accumulated at all the major chains (though I don't think they will help us much). Any and all ideas will be heartily appreciated!

Last edited by highlanderfil; Feb 21, 18 at 1:49 pm
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Old Jan 29, 18, 7:44 pm
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1. With one week, unless you plan to drive around a lot and include stuff like Pompeii, I'd try to spend a couple days on an island such as Capri or Ischia. Similarly, I wouldn't spend a whole week in one hotel or a single village along the coast.

2. June is generally still shoulder season while July is high season, so the earlier you can travel the better for prices/availability as well as the avoidance of crowds and traffic jams
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Old Jan 29, 18, 8:03 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
1. With one week, unless you plan to drive around a lot and include stuff like Pompeii, I'd try to spend a couple days on an island such as Capri or Ischia. Similarly, I wouldn't spend a whole week in one hotel or a single village along the coast.
We'll take day trips, but want to have a base. We'll jump around plenty the week prior.
2. June is generally still shoulder season while July is high season, so the earlier you can travel the better for prices/availability as well as the avoidance of crowds and traffic jams
We are looking around the last two weeks of June and the first week of July. After that, airfare prices get scary.

Any of these stand out?
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Old Jan 29, 18, 8:25 pm
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Booked Dimora Tafuri for now - no obligation, so can always change.
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Old Jan 30, 18, 2:01 pm
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Originally Posted by highlanderfil View Post
Booked Dimora Tafuri for now - no obligation, so can always change.
I think sticking in one place is a great idea. For $150 a night, it's going to be tough to find a place. The obvious choice would be Positano, but not on that budget during high season. Dimora is in Salerno. There's nothing wrong with Salerno. It has a historic center, a large beach, and plenty of interesting things to do. It's less expensive than probably anywhere on the Amalfi Coast. It has a train that goes directly to and from Rome, and even is only about a half hour train ride to Pompeii. There are two things I hope you are aware of interns of its location. It's pretty much at the very end of the Amalfi Coast. That is, it's almost a 2.5 hour bus ride to the other end, Positano. It's almost two hours by ferry to Capri, where it is impossible for you to stay on your budget. Some would consider its location a minus, but with the good comes the bad. The good is, not too many tourists, and that's about the only place you can that at about on the Amalfi Coast during high season. Aside from its location not being for everyone, it's pretty large town that is a harbor for the shipping industry. Also, the beaches in Italy are packed at that time of the year, literally umbrella to umbrella. You won't be able to see the water it will be so crowded. The beach only works in towns with a hotel that has its own beach, or Positano where it is also packed, but has some hidden beaches that few people know about. This is the beach in Salerno. Notice all of the shipping crates, and the industry. In the center is the beach, those round things are all umbrellas..
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Old Jan 30, 18, 2:22 pm
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Yikes. Yeah, I'm not at all above extending my budget a bit more to avoid the industry. Anything in particular I should be looking at? Doesn't have the be the Amalfi coast, mind you.
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Old Jan 30, 18, 2:33 pm
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Originally Posted by highlanderfil View Post
Yikes. Yeah, I'm not at all above extending my budget a bit more to avoid the industry. Anything in particular I should be looking at? Doesn't have the be the Amalfi coast, mind you.
(Perche will disagree, due to the tourist crowding, and it's associated restaurant hustlers, but...) Sorrento is a very convenient hub for exploring Amalfi, Pompeii, Naples and the islands, especially Capri. If you stay in the center, it's lively, and close to the train station and port.
​​​​​​ I stayed once at a hotel called Palazzo Abagnale that might fit your budget. And I've stayed in rentals - which has been an even better experience. I rented once through HomeAway and twice through a company called Summer in Italy.

Last edited by rickg523; Jan 30, 18 at 2:38 pm
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Old Jan 30, 18, 2:40 pm
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Originally Posted by rickg523 View Post
(Perche will disagree, due to the tourist crowding, and it's associated restaurant hustlers, but...) Sorrento is a very convenient hub for exploring Amalfi, Pompeii, Naples and the islands, especially Capri. If you stay in the center, it's lively, and close to the train station and port.
​​​​​​ I stayed once at a hotel called Palazzo Abagnale that might fit your budget. And I've stayed in rentals - which has been an even better experience. I rented once through HomeAway and twice through a company called Summer in Italy.
Yes, I would disagree strongly. It is touristy beyond belief. I hardly recognize being in Italy there. It also has the problem of no beach. There is one, but Sorrento sits on a cliff. You'd have to make it down the cliff. It is very overpriced. At least in Venice you can get away from the hordes of tourists anytime, if you know where to go. In Sorrento there is no escape.
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Old Jan 30, 18, 2:56 pm
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Yeah, one of the things I failed to mention that I should have done is that two of the most important things to us are beach access that does not require transportation and daily housekeeping (so self-service apartments are out). Like I said, I'm totally willing to expand budget (within reason) and geography in order to do so, but those are non-negotiable.
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Old Jan 30, 18, 3:17 pm
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Originally Posted by Perche View Post
Yes, I would disagree strongly. It is touristy beyond belief. I hardly recognize being in Italy there. It also has the problem of no beach. There is one, but Sorrento sits on a cliff. You'd have to make it down the cliff. It is very overpriced. At least in Venice you can get away from the hordes of tourists anytime, if you know where to go. In Sorrento there is no escape.
Yes, we've disagreed about Sorrento before. I don't even dispute your points (I'm not sure I've ever read a post of yours I found factually inaccurate) I just don't find the tourists that objectionable in comparison to the convenience it affords for touring around Campania. But I only go there in the off season.
Maybe also I go in expecting Sorrento to feel a bit like central Rome, less like a small, kind of isolated, coastal town. Crowded with visitors and plenty of clip joints, but also plenty of opportunity to find that kind of Italian hospitality (even among the mobs) prevalent in the South but which isn't so easy to find in a city like Rome as an obvious visitor. And you know how much I love Rome.
TBH, I prefer Sorrento to Positano, which feels to me like a beautiful courtesan, only there for the well-heeled visitor. To me it feels less authentic than Sorrento. Prettier though. Similarly, on the Lakes, I prefer Varenna to Bellagio.
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Old Jan 30, 18, 4:28 pm
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Originally Posted by highlanderfil View Post
Yikes. Yeah, I'm not at all above extending my budget a bit more to avoid the industry. Anything in particular I should be looking at? Doesn't have the be the Amalfi coast, mind you.
Are you open to somewhere besides Amalfi? Amalfi is unique but there are lots of places that are beautiful and more budget friendly. Personally, I like Amalfi in May/early June or mid-September to mid-October.

If you are, you might want to consider Le Marche. Quiet, relaxing and pretty, Le Marche is a great Italian getaway. Not quite undiscovered but less so than places like Amalfi, Cinqueterre... Lot's of good, reasonably priced AirBnb's there as well. As noted by Perche, the beaches everywhere can get pretty crowded (particularly in July & August).
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Last edited by JMN57; Jan 30, 18 at 4:43 pm Reason: typo
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Old Jan 30, 18, 7:25 pm
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Originally Posted by JMN57 View Post
Are you open to somewhere besides Amalfi? Amalfi is unique but there are lots of places that are beautiful and more budget friendly. Personally, I like Amalfi in May/early June or mid-September to mid-October.

If you are, you might want to consider Le Marche. Quiet, relaxing and pretty, Le Marche is a great Italian getaway. Not quite undiscovered but less so than places like Amalfi, Cinqueterre... Lot's of good, reasonably priced AirBnb's there as well. As noted by Perche, the beaches everywhere can get pretty crowded (particularly in July & August).
I'm totally open to other places. In fact, after getting some more advice on another forum, we're looking at Calabria and Sardinia. Will check Le Marche out, as well, thank you!
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Old Jan 31, 18, 8:04 am
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Originally Posted by highlanderfil View Post
I'm totally open to other places. In fact, after getting some more advice on another forum, we're looking at Calabria and Sardinia. Will check Le Marche out, as well, thank you!
Sargegna probably has the best beaches in Italy, but on your budget even if stretched, you will have a hard time finding a hotel. Calabria is much more economical. One thing to know about Italy other than Sardegna, most of the beaches are not so great. Instead of having sand, they have pebbles. The ones that have sand are usually like the picture I showed of Salerno; wall to wall umbrellas. And, you have to pay for he umbrella, and depending on where you are, that can be 25 euros a day. Positano has a nice beach and incredible beauty, but it's wall to all umbrellas. A little bit to the right there is a sort of hidden beach that is not overrun. All throughout the Amalfi Coast there are some hidden beaches maybe 25 meters long that you have to descend down from the cliffs to get to, and the beaches do not have umbrellas, and you can bring a towel and lie on the beach without too much crowding anytime of the year. You can find them but it takes some work, and they won't be right outside your hotel door like at a beach resort. Beach resort places on the Amalfi will go for at least 500 per night during high season, with the norm being closer to 700.

In Calabria, Troppea has a nice sandy beach, and even during high season I haven't seen it be too crowded. It's pretty far South, and it's a bit of a chore to get there. There's no place nearby for day trips that I know of, but it's a quaint town. Just like Sorrento turns into England with the streets and shops and stores being full of English people and some Americans, for some reason, Troppea becomes Germany. In Sorrento, it's really hard to speak Italian in any store or restaurant. The waiters and sales people are so accustomed to everyone they contact being an english speaking tourist that it is not possible for them not to speak english to you on auto-pilot. I ask them something in Italian, they answer in english. I start up a conversation at a bar when by chance I bump into the rare Italian, and they respond in english. We speak for ten minutes where I'm speaking Italian, and they respond in english. It's not because they are trying to practice their english, it's just that they cannot conceive that anyone in Sorrento is not from Great Britain or the USA.

It's a little like that in Troppea, but with German. For some reason, lots of Germans go there for the summer. The same thing happens. I stop at a bar, speak Italian, and the bartender answers in German. I say, "Non sprechen zie Deutch," then continue speaking Italian to them, so they start answering in English. So I tell them, "Non parlo inglese." Finally, I can get them to speak to me in Italian. In tourist areas it can be like that, but Troppea does have a nice, wide, sandy beach, some shops on the water to grab a bite or a drink, and not too many umbrellas. There is one side trip, Come to think of it, there are some side trips, but not many. You can take a ferry to Stromboli, where the volcano erupts every night, if you can call throwing up a few sparks in the dark an eruption, and you can have dinner over there.

There are lots of beaches in Calabria, but remember, compared to the Amalfi Coast, it's not as well developed. It's a little harder to get to. But if you are looking for a place to just chill for a week, it is a place to go. That's what I did a few summers ago in Troppea.

In Calabria you will be giving up amenities for economy, but also you can be in non-touristy towns, with uncrowded beaches frequented by locals only, such as Carminia. The Cosenza area has Diamante, which might be right up your alley, a nice small beach called Praia a Mare that is small, but unlikely to be crowded, but it's a nice beach, or a big beach like Scalea, which will have the umbrellas and be slightly crowded but doable. Scalea has a nice town, hotels, hiking in the national park, and things like that.

in other parts of Calabria there are many other beaches like Capo Rizzuto, Pizzo Calabro. If you are a bit adventuresome you can go all the way down to the medium size town of Reggio-Calabria, where they have nice beaches such as Scilla, or Marinella Beach in nearby Palmi. Reggio-Calabria can be a little bit of a rough town. Nothing is likely to happen, but it's not the Amalfi Coast down in the deep south. One of the side trips you can do from there is go to Sicily. There are frequent ferries from Reggio-Calabria to Messina in Sicily. It's so close that they have been talking about building a bridge between the two for decades. In Eastern Sicily you have the option of many more uncrowded beaches, renting a car and visiting Greek ruins, and seeing some of the more beautiful towns in Western Sicily. You'll definitely save money in Calabria compared to Amalfi. I'm not saying it's wild, but it's far less developed than the more northern areas like Amalfi, and you will need to be comfortable in your ability to travel. You don't have to speak Italian, but should be able to deal with say, a certain lack of organization and uncertainty.
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Last edited by Perche; Jan 31, 18 at 10:08 am
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Old Jan 31, 18, 9:30 am
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Do you have Hilton points? If so, consider the Hilton in Sorrento. We used it as a base a number of years back and had a wonderful time exploring the area. No, it's not the same as actually staying in a hotel in the middle of the Amalfi Coast which we have subsequently done. But it gave easy access to a broad array of sights including Pompeii and we enjoyed it very much. If you can access the executive lounge, it has a expansive terrace with a great view over the water.
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Old Jan 31, 18, 9:42 am
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Originally Posted by SanDiego1K View Post
Do you have Hilton points? If so, consider the Hilton in Sorrento. We used it as a base a number of years back and had a wonderful time exploring the area. No, it's not the same as actually staying in a hotel in the middle of the Amalfi Coast which we have subsequently done. But it gave easy access to a broad array of sights including Pompeii and we enjoyed it very much. If you can access the executive lounge, it has a expansive terrace with a great view over the water.
I do, but not enough to cover a week in the summer
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